Question: in 2004 the kryptonite bike lock company received unwanted social...
In 2004, the Kryptonite Bike lock company received unwanted social media attention when an online video showed how to pick one of their $50 locks with a Bic pen.
- The story quickly spread to other forms of media and the company faced an unexpected public relations firestorm.
- The company responded to this five business days after the video emerged by announcing a lock replacement program with existing customers. But apparently this wasn't fast enough as the book “Naked Conversations: How Blogs are changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers” used the Kryptonite company as an example of what NOT to do in face of a crisis like this.
- The head of the companies public relations, Donna M. Tocci, contacted the authors of the book “Naked Conversations” to set the record straight as their book relied on secondary sources and did not ask for the companies input before publication. When Tocci was asked if her department could have handled the situation better her reply was “We could have posted to the website earlier, but other than that, there wasn’t much different we could do”
- Kryptonite is still followed by negative publicity from this event, even though they have completely resolved the security issue with their products. Search engine results still show videos and demonstrations of how to pick a Kryptonite lock with a pen. Some consumers, rather than digging for more info to find that the company has resolved this issue, leave with the impression that the company has done little to address the problem.
What factors led to the social media explosion of the Kryptonite
Do you agree with Donna Tocci’s claim that the company couldn't have done much different? If so, why? if not, what about its response could have been improved?
What can Kryptonite do now to prevent customers from getting inaccurate information about its products?
What can other companies learn from this experience in terms of listening to the community and designing their social media strategy and objectives?